Mob lynches Muslim man over cow smuggling charges in India

One managed to escape while the other was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival. (File Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP)
Updated 21 July 2018

Mob lynches Muslim man over cow smuggling charges in India

  • Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu-majority country, where attacks on minority groups, especially Muslims, have been on the rise
  • The mob intercepted two men carrying two cows around midnight in a forested and began punching and beating them with sticks

NEW DELHI: A Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob in western India over allegations of smuggling cows, police said Saturday, despite calls by the country's highest court for immediate steps to stop deadly mob violence across the country.
The mob intercepted two men on foot who were bringing two cows with them around midnight in a forested area in Alwar district of Rajasthan state and began punching and beating them with sticks, said police officer Mohan Singh. He said the men were taking the dairy animals to their village in neighboring Haryana state.
One managed to escape while the other was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Singh said police got a tip about the attack and immediately reached the area. "However, the attackers fled as they saw us approaching, leaving behind the injured man and two cows," he said.
Police said they could not verify the allegation that the men were smuggling cows.
In a similar case last year in the same district, a Muslim man was killed and 14 others brutally beaten after being accused of bringing cows for slaughter. The men had bought the animals at a cattle fair and were taking them home in Haryana state.
Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu-majority country, and slaughtering cows or eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.
India has seen a series of mob attacks on minority groups since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept national elections in 2014. Most of the attacks by so-called cow vigilantes from Hindu groups have targeted Muslims, who make up 4 percent of India's 1.3 billion people. Hindus make up about 80 percent of the population.
The victims have been accused of either smuggling cows for slaughter or carrying beef. Last month, two Muslims were lynched in eastern Jharkhand state on charges of cattle theft. Such mob attacks have left at least 20 people dead by cow vigilante groups, mostly believed to be tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.
India's highest court on Tuesday asked the federal government to consider enacting a law to deal with an increase in lynching and mob violence, fueled mostly by rumors that the victims either belonged to members of child kidnapping gangs or were beef eaters and cow slaughterers. The Supreme Court said that "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm and gave a slew of measures to the central and state governments for stem the violence.


Foreign students fret over being sent home after US visa rule

Updated 08 July 2020

Foreign students fret over being sent home after US visa rule

When the phone rang Tuesday morning, Raul Romero had barely slept.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan, on a scholarship at Ohio’s Kenyon College, had spent hours pondering his options after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that international students taking classes fully online for the fall semester would have to transfer to a school with in-person classes or leave the country.
A college employee called Romero to say he would not be immediately affected, but warned that a local outbreak of COVID-19 could force the school to suspend in-person classes during the year. If that happened, he may need to go home.
Romero is one of hundreds of thousands of international students in the United States on F-1 and M-1 visas faced with the prospect of having to leave the country mid-pandemic if their schools go fully online.
For some students, remote learning could mean attending classes in the middle of the night, dealing with spotty or no Internet access, losing funding contingent on teaching, or having to stop participating in research. Some are considering taking time off or leaving their programs entirely.
Reuters spoke with a dozen students who described feeling devastated and confused by the Trump administration’s announcement.
In a Venezuela beset by a deep economic crisis amid political strife, Romero said his mother and brother are living off their savings, sometimes struggle to find food and don’t have reliable Internet at home.
“To think about myself going back to that conflict, while continuing my classes in a completely unequal playing field with my classmates,” he said. “I don’t think it’s possible.”
And that’s if he could even get there. There are currently no flights between the United States and Venezuela.

WORKING REMOTELY WON’T WORK
At schools that have already announced the decision to conduct classes fully online, students were grappling with the announcement’s implications for their personal and professional lives. Blindsided universities scrambled to help them navigate the upheaval.
Lewis Picard, 24, an Australian second-year doctoral student in experimental physics at Harvard University, has been talking nonstop with his partner about the decision. They are on F-1 visas at different schools.
Harvard said Monday it plans to conduct courses online next year. After the ICE announcement, the university’s president, Larry Bacow, said Harvard was “deeply concerned” that it left international students “few options.”
Having to leave “would completely put a roadblock in my research,” Picard said. “There’s essentially no way that the work I am doing can be done remotely. We’ve already had this big pause on it with the pandemic, and we’ve just been able to start going back to lab.”
It could also mean he and his partner would be separated. “The worst-case scenario plan is we’d both have to go to our home countries,” he said.

’CAN’T TRANSFER IN JULY’
Aparna Gopalan, 25, a fourth-year anthropology PhD student at Harvard originally from India, said ICE’s suggestion that students transfer to in-person universities is not realistic just weeks before classes begin.
“That betrays a complete lack of understanding of how academia works,” she said. “You can’t transfer in July. That’s not what happens.”
Others were considering leaving their programs entirely if they cannot study in the United States, and taking their tuition dollars with them. International students often pay full freight, helping universities to fund scholarships, and injected nearly $45 billion into the US economy in 2018.
“It doesn’t make much sense to me to pay for an American education, if you’re not really receiving an American education,” said Olufemi Olurin, 25, of the Bahamas, who is earning an MBA at Eastern Kentucky University and wants to pursue a career in health care management.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking,” she said. “I’ve been building my life here. As an immigrant, even if you are as law-abiding as it gets, you still are always waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under you.”
Benjamin Bing, 22, from China, who was planning to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon in the fall, said he no longer feels welcome in the United States. He and his friends are exploring the possibility of finishing their studies in Europe.
“I feel like it’s kicking out everyone,” he said, of the United States. “We actually paid tuition to study here and we did not do anything wrong.”